Lobster at Home

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With its vibrant color, its delicate and luscious flavor and its excellent nutritional value, it's no wonder that lobster is such a favorite. Yet for all its specialness, lobster is actually an affordable luxury when made at home. And as a food, the meat in a one-pound lobster has only 98 calories, 13 milligrams of cholesterol (less than the same amount of skinless chicken) and is high in the Omega-3 acids known to help reduce cholesterol levels.

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With its vibrant color, its delicate and luscious flavor and its excellent nutritional value, it's no wonder that lobster is such a favorite. Yet for all its specialness, lobster is actually an affordable luxury when made at home. And as a food, the meat in a one-pound lobster has only 98 calories, 13 milligrams of cholesterol (less than the same amount of skinless chicken) and is high in the Omega-3 acids known to help reduce cholesterol levels.

More than five years in preparation, Lobster at Home will teach anyone, from the most inexperienced novice to the seasoned professional, to master the art of cooking lobster. Written clearly and with care for important detail, Lobster at Home goes far beyond any other seafood cookbook. It explains everything from how to choose just the right lobster for a delectable dinner to how to extract every last morsel of meat from a cooked lobster. A treasure trove of information, it also contains completely reliable chapters on lobster anatomy, the basic cooking techniques and the essential equipment. Recipes cover the full range of dishes: soups, chowders, stews, salads and sandwiches, as well as pot-pies, pastas, risottos and classic main courses, along with a special chapter on chefs' creations. Now you can easily turn out restaurant favorites such as Lobster Bisque, Baked Stuffed Lobster and Lobster Fra Diavolo right at home, and at a fraction of the cost.

Among this book's unique features:

-a beautiful illustration showing how and when to select lobster, helping the cook know at a glance when hardshells and soft-shells are available, as well as the best prices

-a handy chart giving cooking times for each size of lobster

-a list of recommended sources for mail-ordering live lobsters

-many recipes that call for the use of already-cooked lobster

From cover to cover, this is a book that welcomes all kinds of lobster lovers who have always wanted to cook lobster at home for family and friends.

Winner of The Food & Wine Best of the Best Award for cookbook of the year.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Learning About Lobster with Jasper White

Boston chef Jasper White came to New York cooking school De Gustibus at Macy's recently to demonstrate techniques and recipes from his impressive new book, Lobster at Home, to a rapt audience of lobster lovers. White is recognized as today's foremost authority on the foods of New England, and if anyone could convince apprehensive home cooks that cooking lobster in their own kitchens is a manageable proposition, it's this self-effacing, calm, and personable chef.

White prepared a number of luscious lobster recipes, offered tips on choosing and buying live lobsters, and demonstrated each step in the process of steaming them and extracting their meat. By the end of the class, we were convinced: Cooking lobster at home is not only possible, it's affordable, celebratory, and easier than you might think, once you've mastered the basics.

About Jasper White and Lobster at Home

Jasper White's Boston restaurant, Jasper's, was rated one of the top restaurants in the city every year of the 12 it was open. White closed the restaurant in 1995 at the height of its success (he says it became too difficult to run the business and have any time at all to spend with his three children), but the reputation he established there as a master chef endures. Today White is a consultant for Legal Sea Foods, a well-known Boston seafood restaurant and company. He's been working on Lobster at Home for the past five years, and it shows in the care that so obviously went into every detail.

White writes in the book that "good cooking means understanding the food you prepare; no fact or idea about lobster is unrelated to its cooking." He shares his years of accumulated knowledge about this revered crustacean through impeccable advice on cooking techniques; detailed illustrations showing lobster anatomy, how to select and prepare the beasts, what equipment to use, and how to dismantle them after they're cooked; charts with cooking times for lobsters of various sizes; information on how the seasons affect the quality and price of lobster; recommended mail-order sources; and wonderful tidbits of lobster history and lore.

And of course, White shows readers how to bring out the best in lobster through his mouth-watering recipes. Chowders and bisques, canapés and casseroles, potpies and pastas, salads and sandwiches—the dishes in Lobster at Home will keep lobster lovers happy for years to come, both for special occasions and for everyday meals. Many of the recipes call only for already-cooked lobster meat, commonly available at better fish markets—a great option for anyone who'd rather avoid dealing with and killing a live lobster (see below for White's tips on how to judge whether cooked lobster meat is a good deal at your market). White says his kids will testify to how well-tested the recipes are: For months, he said, "They'd come home from school and ask, 'Daddy, what kind of lobster are we having for dinner?' They never got tired of it."

About the Menu

We started with a decadent lobster canapé that White described as "definitely bucking the olive-oil/Mediterranean trend—this is pure New England, with its mix of dairy and seafood." Delicate lobster salad made with homemade, tarragon-scented mayonnaise and diced cucumber and scallions for crunch was spooned onto squares of toasted pumpernickel bread, sprinkled with shreds of white cheddar cheese, and popped under the broiler until the cheese was bubbling and browned but the salad still cool within. Utterly luscious. Next came a frittata made with lobster and leeks—an elegant dish that highlights lobster's sweet flavor and succulent texture to perfection. White suggested serving the frittata cut into small squares as an hors d'oeuvre, or sliced into larger wedges and served with a simple green salad for a sublime light lunch. The Taittinger Brut La Française champagne we drank was the ideal accompaniment—light-bodied and fresh, to contrast with the rich dishes, but with enough round, toasty, buttery flavors to perfectly complement the sweet lobster flavor.

Next came a break from dining while White demonstrated "Lobster 101": steaming whole lobsters, extracting the meat, and using the shells and body to make lobster stock. That stock was used to fantastic effect in the next dish, Gazpacho with Lobster. This fresh and crunchy cold soup, made in the traditional way, with pureed stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, was suffused with lobster flavor from the lobster stock used as its base and from the chunks of meat studding it. Lightly pan-fried lobster dumplings followed—wonton wrappers were stuffed with a mousselike forcemeat made from pureed shrimp and scallops combined with diced vegetables and lobster meat, and served drizzled with gingery soy sauce and sprinkled with scallions. With both dishes we drank a wonderful Mersault from Louis Jadot. It was reasonably dry and fresh but satisfyingly creamy, rich, earthy, and mouth-filling—a classic match with lobster. Delicious secret-recipe fresh ginger cookies, served alongside buttery chocolate-chip shortbread, were our fittingly simple finale.

Tips from Jasper White

  • When you're using cucumbers in a salad like White's classic lobster salad, there's an important trick to keep in mind. "Cucumbers contain a lot of water," he said, "and it will release and make the salad soggy if you don't get some out." He recommends dicing them, sprinkling them lightly with salt, letting them drain in a colander for 15 or 20 minutes, and giving them a gentle squeeze before adding them to the salad.
  • Buying cooked lobster meat can be a great deal, and a great option for dishes that call only for the meat, especially if you shop at a reputable fish market that deals in high-quality lobsters. Here's White's standard for judging whether the cooked meat is a deal or a steal: "It's a good deal is if it's five times the price of whole live lobsters or less—because the average yield on lobster is about 20 percent," White says. "So if you go into a store and lobsters are about $5 a pound, if the cooked meat is $23 a pound, it's actually cheaper for you to buy the lobster meat, and you don't have to do any of the work." It works out for the lobster vendor, too, because he can use up lobsters with only one claw or no claws at all—lobsters he can't get full price for.
  • White knows many people are concerned about causing lobsters undue pain before they're killed. He's consulted a neurologist who has worked on lobsters for 25 years for the final word on the most merciful methods. "Splitting the lobster down the middle is an instant kill," he says, "and it's a great thing to do if you're going to grill them." But for the more common steaming or boiling, White learned that the largest ganglion in the lobster nervous system—the equivalent of the brain—is extremely close to the surface of the shell in the head, and that means the lobster is dead within 30 seconds of being plunged into steam or boiling water. They likely detect a temperature change, but nothing more extreme. The infamous thrashing around, if it happens, results from muscle spasms as the meat cooks, not desperate attempts to escape.
  • White has a number of terrific tips for getting the last shred of meat out of cooked lobsters, but here's my favorite: Some of the most succulent bits of meat come from the walking legs, the eight little appendages on each side of the body. If you're eating a whole lobster, you can suck the meat right out—but if you want to use it in a dish, it's not quite so easy. That is, unless you know White's trick. He snaps each leg in half and lines the halves up on a cutting board, broken end up. Then he takes a rolling pin and rolls it gently over the legs, moving from the bottom up towards the broken end. The meat just pops right out. Voila!
  • A last trick that's not lobster-related: White discovered on a trip to China that cilantro stems are often used as an ingredient of their own in some dishes and stay tender and flavorful. Since then, he's stopped bothering to separate the stems from the leaves when chopping cilantro for a dish. He just washes the bunch, lays it on a cutting board, and chops the leafy part whole.
From the Publisher
Mark Bittman author of Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking Jasper White is the authority on New England food, but seafood especially, and Lobster at Home is simply the last word on the subject. Its filled with precise information and fantastic recipes, which come not only from Jasper's kitchen but from his soul.

Jim Peterson author of Fish & Shellfish What a refreshing read! Mr. White's personable text and clear, savory-sounding recipes kept me up, stomach growling, to the wee hours. I was left wondering why I don't cook lobster more often. A must for the lobster lover.

Lydia Shire chef-owner of Biba and Pignoli restaurants, Boston Short of driving to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, to eat the first lobster of the season on the decks of the Lobsterman's Co-op, grab hold of this book. Jasper has demystified this noble creature. Read about how the seasons affect the meat. And once you've done that, pour yourself a chilled glass of Amontillado as you slip down one of Jasper's Hot Tomalley Toasts while stirring a steaming pot of Sugar Pumpkin, Sweet Corn and Lobster Soup.

John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger coauthors of The Thrill of the Grill In New England, where lobster rules, Jasper White is the undisputed king of chefs. Here are excellent recipes, fascinating information and useful tips you can really count on, making for a delightful book that is sure to join the short list of cookbooks you actually use again and again.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino city of Boston The historical significance of lobster to the great city of Boston, combined with the talent of Jasper White, is bound to be a recipe for success.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
James Beard Award-winner as Best Chef in the Northeast in 1991, White Jasper White's Cooking from New England empowers any home cook who has ever been intimidated by this succulent beast. Through text and illustration, White demystifies how, where and when to choose a lobster for home preparation; how to cook it, whether boiled, steamed, grilled, broiled or pan-roasted; and how to eat it and revel in the sensuality of the experience. He even makes killing a lobster less daunting. An excellent repertoire of nearly 75 recipes brings the lobster up from the deep and into the light of the everyday kitchen. Cambodian-Style Lobster Soup gains luster from Thai chilies, ginger, shiittakes, lime and mint. Lobster Pizza can be served as an hors d'oeuvre or main course. Lobster salads and other cold plates include the World-Famous Maine Lobster Roll and the extravagant Millionaire's Salad: Warm Greens with Lobster, Foie Gras and Papaya. Modifying the ingenious Lobster with Vanilla Butter Cream for the home chef, White doesn't ignore such classics as Lobster Thermidor and Lobster Newburg. Lobster Ravioli requires time and effort, but summery Spaghetti with Lobsters, Tomatoes and Capers is a snap. Additional recipes are gathered from fellow chefs: Joel Robuchon, Larry Forgione, Wolfgang Puck and others. In sum, White admirably fills what has been an unaddressed niche.Good Cook selection
Library Journal
In this wonderful and engrossing book, White (Jasper White's Cooking from New England, LJ 11/15/89), formerly the chef/owner of one of Boston's best restaurants, succeeds thoroughly in making the idea of cooking lobster not only unintimidating but indeed almost irresistible. His enthusiasm and knowledge about his subject are abundant, and he writes with humor and warmth. His recipes, from his signature Pan-Roasted Lobster with Chervil & Chives (including more than half a dozen variations) to a more down-home Lobster Hash, sound delectable. Highly recommended. [BOMC's Good Cook selection.]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684800776
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 700,098
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jasper White

Jasper White grew up on a farm in New Jersey, where he learned to cook from his Italian grandmother. He is one of America's leading chefs and teachers of contemporary American cooking. He began his career in 1973, first attending the Culinary Institute of America, then working in restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Florida and Seattle. In 1983 Jasper and his wife, Nancy, opened Jasper's, one of two Boston restaurants to be awarded four and a half stars by The Boston Globe and named Boston Magazine's Best of Boston eleven times out of twelve years. Jasper is currently a consultant for Legal Sea Foods, a world-renowned seafood company. He has been a guest on Julia Child's television series Cooking with Master Chefs and a winner of the James Beard Best Chef in the Northeast award. He lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.

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Read an Excerpt


I have always loved lobster. The memory of my first experience of biting into the lush white meat has been lost amid other memories of growing up in the sun and salty air of the Jersey Shore, but the taste of lobster is intricately bound to my childhood. Every summer we ate freshly caught lobsters, steamed in my mother's big black kettle, then dipped in bowls of melted butter and popped, dripping, into our mouths. My brothers, sister and I learned to rip open the body and pick out every shred of meat. My mother sighed at the mess, but to us it was delicious summer fun.

Food was always an important ritual in my family. Within the context of suburban American cooking in the 1950s, you could say we were somewhat eccentric. I remember so vividly eating woodcock for my father's birthday; blowfish tails for Mother's Day; shad roe to celebrate the beginning of spring; mussels, blue crabs, Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes on the Fourth of July. There were so many feasts in our family that we had to be creative to find a special occasion to merit one.

After high school I found myself so intrigued by the complex nature of flavors I decided to become a chef. I enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. There I was introduced to the great French classics: Lobster Americaine and Lobster Thermidor. Suddenly, the food I had eaten growing up became part of a larger world of possibilities. After graduation, I spent a few years "cooking around" in restaurants in New York, Florida, California, Washington and Montana. Wherever I went, my knowledge increased, but I yearned for the tastes I grew up with. While cooking in San Francisco, I met my life's companion, Nancy. In 1978 we moved back east to Rhode Island to be close to her family. Shortly after starting a job at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, I was offered a better position with the same company at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. As chef of the Cafe Plaza, the hotel's formal dining room, I soon learned what it meant to cook in Boston: It meant cooking lobsters, and lots of them! At last I had returned to the food of my childhood.

Five years later, in 1983, I opened my own restaurant, Jasper's. It served local fish and shellfish. Lobster was the most popular item on the menu. I cooked it in every way imaginable; many of the recipes in this book were created there. During the twelve years that Jasper's was in business, I learned how the seasons affect lobsters. I learned about methods of lobster fishing and what factors go into the changing market prices. I learned that good cooking means understanding the food you prepare; no fact or idea about lobster is unrelated to its cooking. And I learned that knowledge makes your food taste better.

This book is the result of what I've learned so far about lobster. Too often we reserve it for eating in a restaurant or pass over it in the market in favor of what we think of as more easily prepared food. In this book I hope to show you how easy and rewarding it can be to cook lobster at home.

Copyright © 1998 by Jasper White

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Table of Contents


1. The Lobster Primer

2. Basic Cooking Techniques

3. Soups, Broths, Chowders & a Bisque

4. Hot Appetizers & Small Dishes

S. Lobster Salads, Sandwiches, Cold Plates & Composed Salads

6. Classic Main Courses

7. Great Lobsters From Great Chefs

Mail-Order Sources


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A Recipe from Lobster at Home

Frittata with Lobster & Leeks

Frittata is a unique Italian egg dish that resembles something between an omelet and a quiche with no crust. It is tasty, easy to make and versatile. Frittata can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. It can be cut into small wedges and served as part of an antipasto or cut into larger wedges and served as a main dish. For a wonderful light lunch or supper, serve a warm wedge of this lobster frittata with a few fried potatoes and a tossed green salad.

Makes 6 large or 12 small wedges

2 live 1-pound chicken lobsters or 2 pounds other live lobsters, or 8 ounces fully cooked lobster meat
1 medium leek (6 to 7 ounces)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 ounce)
2 sprigs Italian parsley, coarsely chopped (1 tablespoon)
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. If using live lobsters, steam or boil them. Let cool at room temperature. Use a cleaver to crack and remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails. Remove the cartilage from the claws and the intestine from the tail of the cooked meat. Freeze the carcass for future use. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch chunks. Add the tomalley to the meat. If there is any roe, finely chop it and add it to the meat as well. Cover and refrigerate.

2. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

3. Remove the tough outer leaves of the leek, as well as the dark green tips. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and then cut straight across about 1/3 inch wide. Soak the leek in water to remove any dirt or grit, then drain thoroughly.

4. Heat a small sauté pan (6 inches) over medium heat and add the leek with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Set aside and let cool a bit.

5. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese and whip the eggs to a smooth batter. Stir in lobster, leek and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).

6. Heat a 9- or 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour in the batter, using a wooden spoon to distribute the lobster meat evenly through the frittata. Cook for 1 minute until the edge begins to set. Place the frittata in the hot oven and bake for about 8 minutes: The top should be lightly browned and the eggs should be firmly set. Remove from the oven and invert a plate over the top of the pan. Quickly but carefully turn the frittata over onto the plate. If you are going to serve it hot, let it sit at least 1 minute before cutting it into wedges. If not, let the frittata cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges just before serving.

Recipe from Lobster at Home, copyright © 1998 by Jasper White. Published by Scribner. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 19, 2014

    great lobster book

    great lobster book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    Top notch. This one stays in my collection.

    I lobster for personal use in the summer and as catches have increased, so have personal demands for exciting new dishes. Mr. White keeps me occupied and the family and neighbors happy. For some, it is difficult to get excited about lobster except for plain boiled, but I assure you, you are in for a treat if you try some of these recipes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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